The Power & Promise (& Problems) of Free & Open Source Software
Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) is a powerful tool that holds great promise for educational institutions. There are many advantages for schools, universities and other organizations availing themselves of the many infrastructure tools, application packages, and operating systems that are free and able to be used, shared and customized.
Explain the strengths and opportunities for educational organizations in using FOSS
Provide specific examples of how FOSS has been used in one school (ICS Addis)
Identify potential problems and how they can be avoided or managed
Mahara is a system designed specifically for e-portfolios. It is widely used by schools and universities around the world. It integrates very well with Moodle, creating a very dynamic learning & portfolio system.
Drupal is a powerful website builder and is used by many schools, universities and other organizations (including the White House domain for the US President). Drupal has a huge community, with many templates, plugins and customizations. At ICS, we use Drupal for our main school website and we have student-managed websites (eg for our MUN) that run on Drupal.
Wordpress is probably the most widely used blogging system, and is completely free and open source. At ICS, we have our own institutional install of Wordpress, which allows teachers, students and groups to create their own blogs.
Ubuntu is one of many versions of Linux that have been developed for end users rather than servers. It is a fully-functional operating system that is easy to learn and use and can be used on any computer. There are varieties designed specifically for schools, as well lightweight variations for older computers.
LibreOffice is a very powerful productivity suite, with a word processor, spreadsheet, presentation tool as well as database and drawing tool. It is very comparable to Microsoft Office, and just as powerful. It is cross-platform and can be installed and shared freely.
LiveCode is great for students and adults to create cross-platform applications. It has a simple programming language and an easy-to-use interface which enables anyone to build programs for computers or mobile devices.